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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Save the Satos

So many people do not fully understand the situation in Puerto Rico. The sheer number of strays that roam the island, the cruelty they suffer and the way that they are simply ignored. I receive E-mails daily from tourists that return from their visit to the island expressing their concern and admitting that they had no idea how horrible the situation is. As they say "seeing is believing" and I think for many it takes a visit to realize the scope of the problem.

Musician Juliana Hatfield is a sato owner and supporter of Save a Sato. She recently visited Puerto Rico, rescued two dogs and spent a day at our shelter. She has written an article about her journey on Huffington Post titled Save the Satos. It speaks the truth that many do not want to read.

What strikes me most about her article is this statement -

"I saved two dogs from almost certain death in my two days in Puerto Rico, but the experience was surprisingly unsatisfying. It felt like I had taken two drops of water from an ocean or two grains of sand from a beach."

This feeling hits home for me, as I and many other volunteers often feel this same way. How can people walk by these dogs day after day without doing anything to help? Why can we not find volunteers to help with the basic needs of the shelter and the organization? If everyone did one small thing, the rescue effort as a whole would be so much further along. Is it that they have no time? Do they feel like giving a little time or effort will not make a difference?

It reminds me of the Starfish know the one -

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. 
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. 
The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? 
You can’t make a difference!” 

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”

For the hundreds of satos we rescue each year, and the hundreds other rescuers on the island help, it makes a difference. For the more than 500 that appear on our Happy Endings page, it made a difference. One act of kindness makes all the difference in the world for that dog.

These puppies were found in a box at a park in Puerto Rico...many people simply walked by them, not doing anything to help. Luckily someone called our volunteer and she went and rescued them. They are safe, well fed and comfortable now, thousands of others are not as lucky.

What can you do? Help a rescue organization - volunteer your time and talent, donate money or supplies if you are able. Don't have time to volunteer? Spread the word about the issues - post on your website, your blog, social networking sites like Facebook ,Twitter - share the story of the satos until everyone knows about the inhumanity in Puerto Rico (a US Territory). Give what you can, in any way you can. It will make a difference.

While it may seem like an unreachable goal, we must continue to work to share the story for the animals that cannot speak for themselves, and who do not deserve the treatment the sato at a time.

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